Macon man gets probation then steals iPhone in open court, deputy says

jkovac@macon.comFebruary 27, 2014 

The deputy couldn’t help noticing the fellow scooching down the courtroom bench.

The guy, fresh out of jail Monday, had just been sentenced to probation for giving authorities a false name and was waiting for another hearing to end, so he could catch a ride with his bail bondsman.

“He was sitting at one end of the bench, and he’d scoot a little ways and sit there for a minute. Then he’d scoot down a little more,” Jones County sheriff’s Deputy John Simmons said. “It didn’t seem normal. I didn’t know what he was doing.”

Simmons said the man, Jeffrey Kelly, of Macon, then slid his hand over, grabbed something and walked out in a hurry. “I knew something was up.”

Simmons then saw another man walk into the county courtroom and sit down in the spot Kelly had just left. The man began looking around as if he’d lost something.

Then the man stepped out of the courtroom and told Simmons he couldn’t find his iPhone.

“Well, I know who’s got it,” the deputy said.

Outside, Simmons found Kelly, 28, and asked him if he’d seen a phone.

Simmons said at first Kelly told him he hadn’t, but later Kelly claimed he’d given the phone to a woman.

The deputy wasn’t buying it.

The phone turned up perched atop a tire, hidden in the wheel well of Kelly’s bondsman’s car.

Kelly was arrested for theft and jailed.

“He kept saying that the phone was just sitting there, that it didn’t belong to nobody,” Simmons said.

“Now his probation’s been revoked. ... He was not happy.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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